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Policy Handbook


Policy Governing Use of the Library Facilities

At the sole discretion of the Library Board, the Community Room and Grounds of the Library may be made available for use by Local organizations for single meetings or programs of educational or cultural value which are open to the public.

  1. Application forms are available from the Reference Librarians. (2)
  2. Activities involving more than normal wear and tear of the premises will not be permitted.

(2) See Appendix B.

Policy Governing Use of the Community Room and Grounds

At the sole discretion of the Library Board, the Community Room and Grounds of the Library may be made available for use by Local organizations for single meetings or programs of educational or cultural value which are open to the public.

  1. Application forms are available from the Reference Librarians. (2)
  2. Activities involving more than normal wear and tear of the premises will not be permitted.

(2) See Appendix B.


Membership Policy

Membership in the Library may be obtained by applying for a library card.  Library cards will be granted to persons in good standing who are

  1. Real property owners or residents of the Town of Yorktown
  2. Students residing outside Westchester County but attending schools within the Town of Yorktown
  3. Persons residing outside Westchester Count but employed in the Town of Yorktown
  4. Residents of the Lakeland School District area of the Town of Cortlandt for those years in which a valid contract with the Town of Yorktown is in force.
  5. Special memberships may be granted by the Board for a period not to exceed three years.

Holders of valid Westchester Library System cards may borrow library materials.

The Board may, upon proof of sufficient cause, suspend or revoke an individual’s membership in the Library.


Personnel Policy

  1. The Library Director is responsible for efficiently and effectively implementing the policies of the Board and for carrying out the day to day administration of the Library and the training and supervision of its staff.
  2. The Civil Service Employees Association contract will specify personnel policies which will be applied by the Director to the special conditions of library services. (3)
  3. The Board encourages the Library staff and individual trustees to attend library conferences, workshops and professional meetings and, when budget resources permit, to be reimbursed for expenses.
  4. Holidays: All permanent employees of the Library are entitled to the holidays listed in the Civil Service Employees Association contract.

(3) See Appendix C.


Book Selection Policy

Book selection is the responsibility of the Director who works within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees.  The book selection policy is intended to implement the general objectives of the Library within space and budget limitations.  The book selection policies of the Westchester Library System are used by the Director and the Board in specific interpretations of the general principles cited below.

Adult Collection Development Policy and Philosophy

It is the collection development philosophy of the John C. Hart Memorial Library to serve the whole community of Yorktown equally and impartially to the best of its ability.  This community is made up a number of factions that use the library regularly and frequently.  They include senior citizens, adults, young families, elementary, middle, and high school students as well as college students, adults returning to school and job seekers.

The goals of the Hart Library are to meet the literary, educational, informational, and recreational needs of the community.  Material is defined as book and nonbook material.

Adult selection criteria is based on the following:

  1. Material is accurate and up-to-date.
  2. Material provides an informative point of view.
  3. Material is readable and comprehensive as opposed to technical or scholarly works usually found in an academic library.
  4. Material is of good technical quality in printing, binding, illustration, and design.
  5. Material has qualities conducive to critical thought and understanding.

Final decision of selection is at the discretion of the selection committee.

Young Adult (eighth grade through high school) book selection is based on:

  1. Relation of adult titles to the needs and interests of young adults
  2. Capacity to stimulate new interests in cultural, economic, and social fields
  3. Consideration of wide variations in ability and background of readers, and need for a variety in content and reading difficulty
  4. Contribution to continued reading as adults on as high a level as possible for each individual
  5. Contribution to development of well-rounded citizens with an understanding of themselves and other people, at home and abroad.

Gifts of books and other materials are accepted by the Library with the understanding that they are not necessarily to be added to the collection and may be disposed of as the Library sees fit.

Basic Philosophy

The department youth population ranges in age from birth through 7th grade.  There should be books suitable for all these ages, and books that reflect the various reading levels, interest levels, popular genres and curriculum requirements of this group.  In addition, the department should have materials that younger children who are working or reading beyond their grade levels can find in the children’s room where the environment and kind of help may be most suitable to their actual years.  This means that some material, even though intended for students beyond 7th grade, may be chosen.

The department tries to be sure that the wide variety of ethnic groups and religious groups in the area and in the United States are well represented in both fiction and non-fiction.  Even if there is not a large Black, Hispanic, Asian or other minority population using the room during a given period, the material should be there when they do begin to use it and it should be there to help expand the horizons of the majority population that does already use it.

The department subscribes to the ALA Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement.


In addition to applying the general criteria implied by the above policies when selecting books and other materials and planning services, the department librarians do not purchase books without reading reviews. In addition to making selections month by month, other factors are weighed: age ranges served, types of materials we are committed to support, percent of the budget we can afford for specific materials, need for enrichment of specific areas of the non-fiction collection, replacement of missing or worn materials and duplication of heavily used or important titles.

Selection of books is also based on:

  1. Good writing, clarity, character development, logical and consistently absorbing plot
  2. Meeting needs and diverse interests of the individual child
  3. Developing a collection to encourage a love of reading, to nurture good values and critical taste, and to increase understanding of the world
  4. Supplementing the schools’ instructional programs

Non-Book Materials

A modern children’s department in a modern library must have a wide range of materials and services available to its user population other than books.  Selection of these materials is of no less importance than selection of books, but reviewing sources are not as readily available or well-organized.  All the standard reviewing sources are routinely used and subscribed to and are circulated to all the children’s librarians routinely.  New sources of evaluation are added as they surface.

The same criteria for selection of print material is applied to the selection of non-print material.

Revised April 1997


John C. Hart Library Code of Conduct

We Expect Our Patrons To: 

  • speak quietly to staff and other library users
  • dress appropriately
  • refrain from using radios/cassettes/cellular phones
  • treat furniture and library materials with respect
  • refrain from sleeping, smoking or soliciting
  • keep sports equipment outside the Library
  • not bring in their pets, except for Service dogs
  • eat or drink outside the Library

Visitors who violate the Code of Conduct will be asked to leave the library

Library Behavior Policy

The John C. Hart Memorial Library Board of Trustees invites all our patrons to enjoy the library, its materials collection, programs and services. To ensure that all our patrons are able to use the library efficiently and without disruption, we post the following rules and regulations.

Library users must respect the rights and privileges of all users. Any behavior which interferes with the use of the library by others is prohibited.

Examples of prohibited activities:

  • loud or abusive language to staff or patrons
  • any action which disrupts the orderly operation of the Library, or the work of staff
  • mutilating, damaging or defacing library property or materials
  • smoking
  • bringing food or beverages into the library
  • congregating in traffic aisles, study areas, vestibules, public entrances and fire exits
  • distributing or posting materials without permission of the Library Director
  • inappropriate use of furniture and equipment
  • using audio equipment
  • running, skateboarding, roller blading or bicycling, either inside the Library or outside on library grounds
  • sleeping
  • selling or distributing goods or services, except for Library-related activities
  • soliciting contributions or signatures
  • leaving children unattended
  • unauthorized entry to staff work areas
  • unauthorized use of the Betty Cobb Stewart Community Room
  • going shirtless or barefoot
  • unauthorized exit through fire exit doors
  • animals are excluded from the library (except seeing-eye dogs)

Code of Conduct: Personal Property

Users are advised to protect personal property.  If a personal loss occurs, a staff member will assist the user in notifying the police of the loss.  The Library is not responsible for personal property.

Unattended or Disruptive Children Policy

The John C. Hart Memorial Library welcomes children to use its facilities for customary library activities.  However, responsibility for children using the library rests with the parent, guardian, or assigned chaperone, not with library personnel.

Parents need to be aware that the public library as an institution does not have legal “provision of care” responsibilities.

For the protection and well-being of children enjoying the library, the following policy has been established:

  1. Children 10 years of age or younger must be accompanied and supervised by an adult or a teenager (16 years or older).
  2. Responsible parties must remain in the building while a child 10 years of age or younger is attending a program.
  3. Disruptive young people will be asked to leave the library.
  4. Library staff cannot provide food, transportation or money to children.
  5. Library staff cannot take legal responsibility for a child in the case of a medical emergency.
  6. If an unaccompanied child is in the library at closing time, the police will be contacted if deemed necessary. 

Approved 9/17/03


Eligibility for Children’s Programs

A child’s primary parents or guardians must live in Yorktown or Cortlandt to be eligible for J. C. Hart children’s programs. Grandparents who live in this area may not register a grandchild who lives outside of our service area.


Book Limit Policy

The John C. Hart Memorial Library limits the number of books on the same topic to three (3) from the adult and/or children’s section.  The purpose of this limitation is to allow the largest number of library patrons to have access to the book collection as possible.

Approved by the Library Board July 28, 1997


Guidelines for Appropriate Computer Use

  • Use of the public access computers is on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • Limit your search time to 30 minutes, with a total limit of 3 hours per day.
  • Refrain from illegal or unethical use of the Internet
  • Respect the privacy of others
  • Do not add, delete, or modify the installed hardware or software in any way.
  • Display of sexually explicit graphics is inappropriate for a public and open environment and is prohibited.
  • There is a $.15 per page charge for printing in b/w and a $.50 per page charge for color.

If a patron knowingly abuses, misuses or engages in any use of computer equipment or software not authorized by the library, or deliberately introduces a computer virus, the patron will be prohibited from using this service, and subject to loss of library privileges and criminal prosecution. Any illegal activity involving the use of the Library's computers, including the internet, will be subject to prosecution by the appropriate authorities.

Rev. 5/02, 11/05, 1/07, 9/13

Internet Use Policy

In keeping with its stated mission to "provide free public library service to all individuals in the community in order to add value to the community through information, education and recreation," the Hart Library is committed to providing its users with the latest advances in information technology. It offers unlimited information of every kind, both education and recreational.

Given the constantly evolving nature of the Internet and the absence of any governing body, there may be times when information of a controversial nature is accessed. The inclusion of Internet resources in the library falls under the Library's Materials Selection Policy which states "the library recognizes that tastes vary widely in a given community. An item which is pleasing to one patron may be unacceptable to another; however, no one person or group has the right to impose standards on the other members of the public. Decisions are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the building of the collection and to service the interests of the public. Responsibility for children's use of the library materials rests with their parents or legal guardians. The inclusion of an item in the Library's collection in no way implies endorsement of its author, contents or views". The Hart Library does not monitor information accessed over the Internet and cannot guarantee the validity or accuracy of information found on the Internet. Library users are advised, as with all library materials, to exercise judgment and discrimination when evaluating the usefulness and reliability of material found on the Internet. In order to protect their privacy, Internet users are encouraged to log out of all accounts, delete documents, empty the recycle bin, and refrain from saving passwords or enabling autocomplete. It is the responsibility of the user to safeguard personal information shared on the internet or save on library workstations.

10/99, Rev. 9/13

Procedures for PC Reservation 

  • Users will be blocked from using Internet services if they have $5.00 or more in fines.
  • Internet users must have a valid WLS card.
  • Users who don’t have a WLS card or whose card won’t work must show ID to the librarian. If there are fines, they must pay them. If they are eligible to get a card, they must get one.
  • If they don’t have their card with them, they will have to show ID to get a “guest pass” and a $0.50 charge will be assessed.

Use of Children’s Room Computers


Adult use of equipment, even when the room is vacant, is not always harmless.  Adult users have inadvertently saved inappropriate pictures to the desk top.  Some sights, especially adult themed sights, leave open windows on the task bar.  Also, it is easy for children to find their way into previously typed addresses.

Approved by the Library Board of Directors, November, 20, 2002



Adult books, music CD’s, children’s CD’s, and read-a-longs:
$.10 per day - $5.00 maximum

Holds not picked up: $.50 per item

Express Books: $.25 per day - $5.00 maximum

Juvenile Books: $.05 per day - $5.00 maximum

DVDs: $1.00 per day - $10.00 maximum

Lost Books List price of the item if lost or damaged plus $5.00 processing fee

Magazines: $.10 per day - $5.00 maximum

J and YA Video Games: $2.00 per day - $10.00 maximum


Borrowing Periods

Books: 3 weeks with a 3-week renewal

Audiobooks: 3 weeks with a 3-week renewal

DVDs: 1 week with a 1-week renewal

Express DVDs: 3 days with NO RENEWAL and NO RESERVES

Music CDs: 3 weeks with a 3-week renewal

Bestsellers: 3 weeks with a 3-week renewal

New Books: 2 weeks with a 2-week renewal

Express Books: 1 week with NO RENEWAL and NO RESERVES

Magazines: 1 week with a 1-week renewal.

J and YA Video Games: 1 week with NO RENEWAL and NO RESERVES

 NOTE: not all magazines may be borrowed.  Check with Reference for list of magazines that do/do not circulate.  The most recent copy of each magazine may not be borrowed.  Newspapers do not circulate.
Any item on hold may not be renewed 


3 non-fiction titles on the Same Subject – Children’s and Adults combined
7 magazines per card, 1 week circulation
10 music CDs per card; except for seasonal selections which have are limited to 5 per card
10 DVDs per card, 1 week circulation
no limit   juvenile kits                                
10 adult audiobooks and 4 Playaways per card
J video game per family

*These limitations do not pertain to anything on hold. Renewals subject to certain limitations.



The collection of petitions of any nature, political, environmental, or for any other purpose whatsoever is prohibited on Library grounds, except for petitions presented by the Board of Trustees or its designee on behalf of the Library.

Approved by the Board of Trustees, February 16, 2000


Proctoring Exams

In order to achieve the Library’s fundamental objective of “adding value to the community through information, education and recreation,” the Library agrees to allow its staff to proctor exams for local residents who are in need of this service (usually distance learners taking tests or final exams).

The student must agree to a mutually convenient time with a professional staff member, with the understanding that they will be taking the exam under the general supervision of the librarian at a study carrel.




March 14, 2001

At a meeting of the Library Board of Trustees held on February 28, 2001, the Board  evaluated whether your use of the Library as a site to conduct tutoring is consistent with Library policy.

The Board determined that the use of the Library premises for tutoring that is not conducted by Library personnel is inconsistent with Library policy.  Therefore, as of April 15, 2001, you may no longer conduct tutorials on Library premises.

Very truly yours,
Patricia Barresi
Library Director


Bulletin Board Policy 

In keeping with the Library’s function as an information provider to the entire community and the Library’s adherence to the principles of the Library Bill of Rights, the Library shall determine what information shall be displayed on its bulletin boards. The bulletin boards are to be used primarily as a means of promoting Library news or for displaying items chosen by Library staff. Any space on certain bulletin boards not needed for Library news may be used to inform the public about community organizations, local events, and for civic, cultural, educational, and recreational information. Literature related to political campaigns will not be distributed.

Posters and flyers displayed on the bulletin board may be no larger than 8 ½ by 14 inches. Bulletin boards may not be used for personal or commercial advertisements. Items may be displayed for a maximum of one month. Library staff will remove items that have expired or that have been posted for one month. Items removed will be discarded; library staff can not return posters of flyers that have been taken down.

Items that may be distributed include flyers, brochures, leaflets, newspapers and pamphlets that provide information about non-profit, civic, educational, cultural, or recreational organizations and events.  Materials for programs of a personal or commercial nature may not be distributed in the library. Items may be distributed as long as they are valid. If space becomes limited, preference will be given to items of a timely nature and to organizations or groups that have not recently distributed items.

All items for posting or distribution must be presented to the Library Director for approval; library staff will date and place items on the bulletin board or in the information racks. Distribution or posting of items by the library does not indicate endorsement of the issues, events or services promoted by those materials. Items left or posted without approval will be removed and discarded.

Approved by John C. Hart Memorial Library Board of Trustees on November 20, 2002


Borrowing Policy for Teachers (Juvenile Materials Only)

Teachers who teach in the Lakeland and Yorktown school districts may request an exception to the Library policy of three (3) items on a topic or subject (Juvenile Materials Only).

The number of items to be checked out can be decided by any full-time or 14hr/week librarian (regular staff).

Individual determinations should be made based on the number of items on the shelf and awareness of any projects in progress at our local schools.

Suggestions to how to handle subject requests:

  1. If there are about 12 books on penguins on the shelf, a teacher could borrow 6 or 7.
  2. If there are about 40 books on the rainforest on the shelf, a teacher could borrow 15.
  3. If there are about 25 books by one author on the shelf, a teacher could borrow 12 or 13 (for an author study). 

Books CAN be renewed as per usual practice.

Requests for multiple copies of the same title should be handled as book club requests (SHR copies pulled first, additional copies put on hold).

All requests can be supplemented, of course, with placing holds, as needed.

Approved and Passed by Library Board 6/15/05


Sound and Visual Recording on Library Premises

The sound or visual recording of library users, staff, interiors, or exteriors are prohibited without prior approval of the Library Director.  This is to protect the rights of individuals who use the Library.


Photo Release Form

Click for form (PDF)


Suggested Purchases

Patrons may suggest the Hart Library purchase a book.  The patron should obtain a Suggested Purchases form from the Adult Reference Desk or the Children’s Reference Desk.  After filling out the form, the librarian in charge will determine whether Hart will make the purchase.  The decision is made based on how many other WLS libraries own the book, what the usage has been for the book and what the reviews are, among other things.


Library Materials Complaint 

Patrons who wish to lodge a complaint regarding library material may fill out a form entitled “Citizen’s Request For Reconsideration Of Library Material” and leave it for submission to the Library Director.  This form is in the file drawer at Reference in a folder labeled “Materials complaint Form.” 


Employee Computer, Email and Internet Acceptable Use Guidelines 


The purpose of this policy is to establish basic guidelines for the appropriate use of computing resources, electronic mail, the Internet and related electronic products on staff computers at the John C. Hart Memorial Library.

Guidelines for Staff Use:

The Library provides equipment, services and training so employees can serve the needs of its patrons.  Access to computers, the Internet and email is provided solely to further these service goals.

The Library encourages staff to use email for job-related communication.  The Library Director will designate which computers may be used to access email.

Although email is quick and easy, for all external correspondence staff are expected to proofread the email and use spell check to represent the Library well.
Staff are expected to communicate in a professional manner, using appropriate business language.

The Library encourages staff to use email for job-related professional development.  Participation in listservs are expected to be job-related.  Posting to group lists, which communicate personal opinions, not formal library policy, should state this clearly.

Email files can absorb an undue amount of computer resources.  Regular deletion of outdated email files is encouraged and expected.  The Library reserves the right to “dump” archived email.  The same guidelines apply to data files. Regular deletion of unused files is encouraged and expected.

Guidelines for Personal Use

The Library permits personal use of staff computers subject to the following understandings:

Personal use will be on employee’s personal time (before or after regularly scheduled work time, during breaks or lunch).


Technology Available to the Public

11 Internet Stations – 9 in adult, 2 in children’s. All have Microsoft Office 2010, CD-RW/DVD drive.
4 Catalog Only Stations – 2 in adult, 2 in children’s

2 photocopy machines (black & white) – both are in adult room

1 black & white/color printers/photocopiers/scanners  – in adult;

One typewriter (ask at Reference Desk)

Wireless Internet service

One microform reader/printer
2 USB Drives -inquire at Reference Desk (to allow patrons to transfer software documents to email)

For Sale:
CD’s - $1.50 each

earphones - $2.00 each

For Staff use only:
Fax machine     (914) 245-2216 (Reference)     (914) 245-5936 (Administration)


Rental of the Community Room


Forms are available at the Adult Reference Desk (filed under “Community Room”).

Form 1 - “If you would like to exhibit your art work…”
Form 2 - “Agreement to hold harmless…”
Form 3 - “Exhibit space request”

Completed forms are submitted to Melinda O’Brien via the Reference Desk. Melinda’s Email: MOBrien@wlsmail.org


There is a stapled packet of forms to be filled out in the same Reference Desk file drawer (“Community Room”) and returned to Pat Barresi via the Reference Desk.


Arrangements are made through Melinda O' Brien via the Reference Desk or by email:  MOBrien@wlsmail.org


Arrangements are made through Melinda O’Brien.
Voice mail:   245-5262 ext. 245
Email: MOBrien@wlsmail.org


Adaptive Devices for Patrons with Special Needs

The following items/services are available to patrons who have special needs:

  • Large Print Books (see adult reference librarian)
  • TTY (or TT for Text Telephone) for the hearing impaired.  Patrons may request this device from any Westchester public library or call the Westchester Library System directly.  The device may be borrowed for a two-week period.  See an Adult Reference Librarian for more information.  This information can be found in the file entitled “Adaptive devices for disabled patrons” at ready reference.
  • Magnifying Glass (see adult reference librarian)
  • Hart to the Homebound (Volunteers bring books to patrons who cannot come to the library themselves.)  See Sharon Kulberg for more information.
  • Wheelchair accessible computer station
  • New York State Talking Book & Braille Library
    Patrons who qualify for these services can obtain an application from the Adult Reference Desk.  The folder is entitled “Blind and Visually Handicapped.”  The library lends books on recorded disc, cassette tape and in braille and provides, free of charge, the special machines needed to listen to the books.
  • Unabridged – A project of the National Library Service (a division of the Library of Congress) for the Blind and Physically Handicapped makes unabridged digital audio books available to people who are registered with the program.  Patrons are able to “check out” and download digital word audio books directly to their computers.

    See Adult Reference Desk for more information in the folder entitled “Blind and Physically Handicapped.”



Loan Period and Fees

Most materials may be borrowed for a 3-week loan period with the option of a 3-week renewal period except for those materials on reserve.  DVDs may be borrowed for a 7 day period. Express books and Express DVDs may be borrowed for a 3-day period with no renewal or reserves.


  • Adult books, all magazines, pamphlets, audio material (except DVDs):
    10¢ day / Maximum fine: $5.00 per item

  • Holds not picked up: $.50 per item

  • Juvenile books: 5¢ day / Maximum fine: $5.00 per item

  • DVDs: $1.00 day / Maximum fine: $10.00 per item

  • 7 Day books: 25¢ day / Maximum fine: $5.00 per item

  • Video Games: $2.00; day / Maximum fine $10.00 per item

  • Lost or Damaged material: Cost of Item plus $5.00 processing fee

  • Lost material returned within 2 months of date of paid receipt: $5.00 overdue fine

  • Lost material returned after 2 months of date of paid receipt: No refund

  • Missing Barcode: $2.50 each

  • Fee for returned check: amount of check plus $20.00 processing fee



January 2006
Rules for Use of the Community Room and Grounds

At the sole discretion of the Library Board, the Community Room and Grounds of the Library may be made available for use by local organizations for single meetings or programs of educational or cultural value which are open to the public.

  1. Applications forms are available from the Reference Librarians and must be submitted in writing to the Director at least 15 days in advance of the scheduled program (see reverse for form).
  2. Applications for regular recurrent meetings are reconsidered each calendar quarter.
  3. The individual signing the application will be held responsible for the loss of library supplies and equipment or any damage done to the building and grounds.
  4. Each organization or group requesting the use of library facilities must present evidence of liability insurance coverage in the amounts specified by the town of Yorktown for the program or meeting.
  5. Library reserves the right to cancel a meeting.
  6. Children’s and Young adult groups may use the Community Room and Grounds provided they are supervised by one or more adult sponsors.
  7. Established non-partisan organizations which do not endorse individual candidates or parties may conduct a meeting at which current election issues are discussed, provided all candidates for the same office have been invited to appear on the program.
  8. Community room is not available for the presentation of one side only of controversial matters, or when in the judgment of the Library Board any disorder may be likely to occur.
  9. Activities involving more than normal wear and tear of the furnishings will not be permitted.
  10. The group using the community room and/or grounds must arrange with the Director to obtain access.
  11. Groups presenting programs in the Community room or on the grounds may not charge for admission.
  12. A fee schedule for the use of the community room or grounds is available from the Director.



Library Director’s Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Library Director include:

  1. Hiring, supervision and training of staff
  2. Scheduling of staff hours of work
  3. Assessment of staff needs and recommendations to the Board
  4. Assessment of buildings and equipment needs and recommendations to the Board
  5. Budget preparation
  6. Expenditure of funds
  7. Monthly and annual reports to the Board on all aspects of library operations
  8. Book selection
  9. Attendance at professional meetings and conferences


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